Study to examine impact of alternative fuel bus schemes

| Transport

The DfT has appointed TRL to study the effects of gas, electric and fuel cell powered public transport on the environment and infrastructure.

TRL has been commissioned to monitor and evaluate the performance and impacts of low emission buses in 13 locations across the UK.

Buses undertake many miles of travel in urban areas and traditionally run on diesel fuel, which produces CO2 emissions and has been proven to have a negative impact on air quality. Therefore, steps are being taken to drive down emissions by the Department for Transport (DfT), which, through the Low Emission Bus Scheme, has provided grants for deployment of low emission buses and related infrastructure on existing routes around the country.

Positioned across the UK, variations of gas, full-electric, hybrid-electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses will be procured and operated by bus operators. TRL will carry out data collection and analysis of bus and infrastructure performance, cost savings and environmental impacts to create insight reports for the DfT and the bus industry. This will allow government and bus operators to make informed decisions about how to best develop their low emission bus fleets and infrastructure.

Denis Naberezhnykh, Head of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles and Energy at TRL, commented: “There is a lot of emphasis on reducing emissions in the UK and improving air quality within our communities. This is why it is vital the various low emission bus projects being put in place are evaluated, to inform smart investments and policy decisions in the future.

“By implementing a robust process for collecting accurate and reliable data from these projects over an extended duration, a comprehensive understanding of their performance and impacts will be obtained and made available to the DfT, bus operators and the broader bus industry.”

The trials are already underway and TRL will be looking to report back the interim projects findings in just over 12-months’ time.

The project win adds to a growing portfolio of innovative research projects for TRL in future transport areas such as low carbon and automated vehicles. Notable projects include the GATEway project, one of three UK projects to test ‘driverless’ vehicles in UK urban locations; MOVE_UK, a three year project to test driverless systems in the real world and the Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration (CVEI) project, an integrated energy and transport project to encourage wider adoption of plug-in vehicles. TRL is also involved in Electric Nation, the world’s largest electric vehicle trials, and the UK arm of the ZeEUS project, which aims to facilitate the widespread introduction of electrified bus systems in Europe.

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